Jesus overturns all

When Jesus came the kingdom of God came with him. That is, the reign of God as promised in the prophets resided in this little baby. Now all who are in him are part of that kingdom that resides in him. However his coming, as we saw yesterday involved taking up the instrument of execution of the worst criminals of that time. It involved the most awful death of the cross. Why? Because in Jesus’ person, words, works, and death, a new order comes in. Yes, in and among those who have faith at its beginning. But through them to and for the entire world. Someday to be fully realized when it’s put in place at Jesus’ return, when heaven and earth become one in him.

This is not to say that there is not much good in this world. Such good is through and from God’s creation of all. Of course this good is in the mix of all the evil that is resident as well, entrenched as it were so that no matter what reformations are set in place by humankind, evil again and again rears its ugly head. Of course it’s not that we’re immune to evil, or have none of it in us ourselves. Even we who profess faith in Jesus, if we say we have no sin, deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

This reality in and of itself is at odds, and indeed in direct opposition to some of the established order of this world. True in Jesus’ day where Savior, son of God were terms used of the Roman emperor. Then given to Jesus. And we read in the psalms how the kings of the earth take counsel, and the nations are gathered together against God, and against God’s Anointed.

This truth should make us at least a bit unsettled about throwing our allegiance behind any earthly entity. We are citizens of heaven, and as such our kingdom in Jesus is not from this world. For this world, but not from it. We triumph not by the weapons of this world, but by spiritual weapons given to us in Jesus. By living out and proclaiming the gospel, meaning good news. The good news of God’s kingdom and grace in Jesus through his death and resurrection. So we too are to not only proclaim, but live out this good news as God’s resurrection people in Jesus, through baptism brought through death to life, new life in him. And living that out in the established order in taking up our cross in our following of Jesus. Committed to the way of Jesus in a world that is at best uneasy with such a claim.

So let us beware. Beware of evildoers who would kill us. Christians in such places seek to be as wise as serpents while being as harmless as doves. And let us beware of being coopted into any system, be it left, right, or whatever it might be in this world. The kingdom of God in Jesus is to be in alliance with no entity. God in Jesus alone is king, and all must bow the knee to him. No treaties, or alliances are possible, and any of us who are involved in such are on our own.

Someday Jesus will come back as King of kings, and Lord of lords. Then the true peace as in shalom will be in place in him. God’s kingdom will indeed cover the earth. Evil will be gone, and the love of God in Jesus will be the air everyone breathes, lives and has their being in, by the Spirit. Until then let us in Jesus be faithful in seeking to live out individually and together our calling in him so that God’s kingdom can leave its mark even on this poor, sad world. As we await Jesus’ return.

Although I did not use the term church, Christ’s Body in the world is key in seeking to think this through. The church can work with established orders, but we must be careful lest we’re coopted in any way by the world, so that we’re no longer living in the way of Jesus in the kingdom mission we have in him here and now.